How Bad Can it Be? BAD

I’ve always believed the very best publicity in the world won’t help if your product, service or organization provides a sub-par user experience.

As you’ll read in today’s guest blog, Peppercomm’s very own Jacko Kolek recently suffered through a text book example.

PLEASE share your customer experience(s) from hell tales. It sets the perfect tone for the holidays. 😎🚀


I’m always up for a weekend getaway or a trip to the beach.  When booking a hotel, I religiously check the online reviews and as long as it’s clean and safe, its fine by me.  I never spend much time in a room anyway, so my mantra is “how bad can it be?”  Well, a recent stay at the Hotel Pennsylvania has made me rethink that motto. 

The online reviews of the Penn were fine. Nice staff, clean room and great location. Some recent reviewers even gave it five stars. Given it’s the holidays in NYC, the room was a pricey $500/night so it had to be decent, right? Wrong.

Let’s start with the check in, which was complete and utter chaos.  A line snaking around the lobby made security at JFK airport look like a walk in the park. The self-check-in kiosks didn’t work and there was no one around to ask questions or provide support.

Once we finally got our keys, things got worse.  The “Security Guard” was asleep at his post and the hallways were a disgrace.  Carpeting was worn and ripped, the walls were scuffed and paint was peeling from them.  The door to my room looked like it had been broken into and the handle was chipped and askew.  There is quaint old and there is gross old and this is just plain old gross.

And then the room.  Where do I start?  Dirty carpeting, stained and chipped furniture and smudges on the walls.  The towel bar was broken in the bathroom and there were no towels.  The bathroom floor was rusted and the shower was chipped and dented.  Oh, and the sheets were stained.

Where did these reviews come from?  They couldn’t possibly be from people who walked the halls of this hotel.  This experience has made me not only question my laissez faire approach to booking accommodations, but the value of online reviews.   Clearly in this case they were false and the owners of this fine establishment should be ashamed of themselves.  Sooner or late this will catch up with them.  Bottom line, you can fake an online review but you can’t fake an experience.

Have you had a hotel horror?  Share your stories with us.


3 thoughts on “How Bad Can it Be? BAD

  1. In the days before online reviews, c. 1980, I check into the Holiday Inn in Oklahoma City. It was quite late. The clerk hands me the key. Something made me say “Are you absolutely sure that room is unoccupied?” The clerk says “I can absolutely assure you that the room is unoccupied, sir.” I get to the room. I walk in. The room WAS occupied. By a couple. Who were clearly very much in love with one another. #GetThePicture?

  2. I’d have asked friends and colleagues for counsel first. You’d have saved yourself a lot of misery.

    Anyone who knows NYC knows the Hotel Pennsylvania has been a horror show for decades. Online reviews are worth nothing compared to Word of Mouth.

  3. WOOF. My friend rented an Air BNB in Prague last summer and when she walked in the apartment was trashed and there was a HUGE knife on the kitchen counter caked in what she thought looked like dried blood. she called the air bnb host and he seemed unconcerned and said she could book a cleaning service if she wanted, but wouldn’t be reimbursed. Needless to say, she trashed the host on air bnb’s website and was comped her entire visit, plus the cost for staying in a holiday inn.